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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Someone asked me the question so I thought I'd start a thread on it instead of changing the subject of a thread.

I am writing this from the perspective of an individual that is either a U.S. service member, GS, or awarded technical expert (TE) status IAW with the SOFA agreement. It doesn't vary too much from German law but its easier to describe procedures in this manner. There is a ton of misinformation reguarding U.S. personnel and weapons ownership in Germany. I hope this will both clear the fog and demonstrate how fortunate we, as Americans, are to have our rights protected.

All personnel in-bound to Germany are given written orders that state personally owned weapons are not allowed. In reality this means that wepaons can not be transported into Germany as part of your move. The orders/instructions imply that you can not own weapons while in Germany; which is grossly inaccurate.

There are only 5 "main" ways an individual may own a weapon in Germany of which only 2 usually can apply to Americans. Weapons possession my be "justified" in the eyes of big brother. It is not a right but reguarded as a privilege generally for the rich. Hunting in particular has very close ties royality and generally assoicated with wealth in terms of social standing. This privilege can (and is) revolked for an act that is considered "irresponsible". A DUI/DWI conviction is enough the loose this privilege. Get a DUI and loose your weapons. Thats how I got my SSG 69 with a Kahles 3-12x56. He had to sell. One, most common, method for Americans to justify owning weapons is to become a hunter. The second is to be a member of a shooting club. Generally a hunter can have an unlimited number of long guns reguardless of caliber but only 2 hand guns. Sport shotters are generally limited to the weapons they are competing with or the club supports (ie, history club). I'll stick to the hunting method because it's the one I'm most familar with as well the most common used.

Everyone wished to hunt in Germany must got to a hunting course. Amazingly, only about 33% of the course subjects reflect what an American would consider hunting. Most of the course consists of conservation (including studying the types of trees in Germany), laws, customs, identify and care for dogs, etc... A german will pay in excess of $2600 for this course and you still can't hunt yet. There is an agreement to allow the area commands to conduct 2 classes for americans only a year. The cost is normally $100-$150. It involves the same subjects with the additional class of learning basic hunting terms in German. To graduate the test usually consists of a difficult written exam, qualify with a rifle (easy standards) and shotgun (trap/ 4 out of 10 pigeons), and oral exam. Students must also demontrate weapons safety and familarize with shooting at a running pig (paper target moving fast @ 50m).

As I said before you still can't hunt nor own a weapon. The certificate awarded will only justify your application to hunt and owe weapons. This nect part is a sore subject for me because the USAREUR staff has really messed up the process from here. I used to just go to the German county seat and process the paperwork for a weapons possession card and hunting. I could purchase a rifle and register it in 40 minutes. It now takes 4 weeks to 2 years to do the same thing. The first time through the American/German system is the most painfull. You have to fill out numerous forms (requiring an O-5 signature) requesting to own weapons and hunting privileges including a background check. This is then submitted into the bureaucratic cog. You will then get a weapons possession card. You still go to the same office the Germans use to get a hunting licence (doesn't guarentee you can hunt yet).

If somoene is interested I'll start a new thread on hunting in Germany but only if requested.

Once you have the weapons card and you purchase a weapon, you have to go though and request again to have that weapon(s) added to your card. This means you have to send your card in the mail and wait for its return. Most gun stores will not give up the weapon until you return with the weapon added to your card. Again this process used to take me 40 minutes now 4 weeks to 2 years. By law, you can not carry a firearm without your card. This puts Americans at risk. IF you are not doing something stupid the German police may let you go if you still have your hunting license with you; no guarentee. An American whom doesn't own weapons here in Germany but is involved in the program says the police will understand. Sure, after you play wait and see for a few hours while they check out their database.

The really funny part is. We are still required to register our wepaons with the American military command system. They give us a weapons possession card that even the military police can not accept as legal document allowing firearms ownership. Its a complete waste of government money.

If you wish to bring your favorite Steyr from the states to here. You must first aquire the weapons card. You get a bill of sale (even if it was a gift) and then you complete the process adding the weapon to your card. You then fill out 1 form (similar to a declaration form) mail this form and a copy of your weapons card (with the firearm added to it) to whomever is mailing the weaponf to you. They put the unloaded (recommend you remove the bolt too) weapon in a locked case with copies inside that were mailed to them and send it too you.

That was the condensed version. I'll be glad to answer questions like, "Why go through all of that?" Again I'd prefer to leave hunting to a different thread if folks are interested.

David
 

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WOW! :willynilly:

Thanks for the explanation...I think I'll stick with the US bureaucratic idiocies for the foreseeable future. :chair: Unless, of course, Israel opens up immigration to *****... :thumbsup:
 

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Hey there,

i don't know how it is exactly for foreigners with guns in germany. But one thing i do know: A DUI is not enough to lose your guns. You have to lose your "state of acknowledged responsibility" ... so a DUI is a good step in that direction, but you have to be considered an "addict". One DUI (in the range below 1.1 promille, above is another thing) is not enough for that. Two DUIs? Quite probable. You will have to do all the medicinical-psychological tests they want from you ... and succeed them. Otherwise, you'll lose all three your WBK (card for owners of guns), Jagdschein (hunters license) and drivers license.

Regarding hunting in germany: I would like to hear about that. Sure i am german myself, but a foreigners perspective would be a nice addition. :)


(On a side note: In the movies you guys from the U.S. get arrested on a DUI. Is that true? Here we're only asked if they should call a cab for us. ^_^)
 

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...On a side note: In the movies you guys from the U.S. get arrested on a DUI. Is that true?...
That is correct; if you are caught by a police officer while driving with a blood alcohol level above a certain percentage, you are arrested. There are at least two different percentages for us: Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). DUI can include other substances besides alcohol, I believe.
 

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Hey there,

But one thing i do know: A DUI is not enough to lose your guns. You have to lose your "state of acknowledged responsibility" ... so a DUI is a good step in that direction, but you have to be considered an "addict".
We were told in my hunting class that a DWI/DUI was cause enough IAW German law to loose your WBK. I purchased my first Steyr, SSG 69 / Kahles 3-12x56, from a guy who was convicted of a (1) offense. Perhaps his BAC was so high they punished him hard, I don't know. I just got the rifle/scope combo cheap. I learned that in December a hunter (German) was stopped for DUI/DWI near by (with rifle in car) and lost his WBK. I don't know that person nor can I confirm the story.

You are correct as to how the Germans deal with repeat offenders for DUI/DWI. I work with a guy who tested that system as well. He was very embarasses to be forced into a phyc eval.

Hunting in Germany is better than the states in many ways but there are stark differences. I'll work up a thread for that as well.
 

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We were told in my hunting class that a DWI/DUI was cause enough IAW German law to loose your WBK.
We we're told that, too. But i did a little research: For me it looks like nothing bad can happen unless a "fachärztliches Attest" or "amtärtzliches Attest" says you are addicted. The former is a medical certificate you can get from your acknowledged physician, the latter from a public health officer. As far as i know on "gerechtfertigter Verdacht" (justified suspicion) you can be forced to go to a public health officer. Even a minor DUI-delict justifies suspicion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
We we're told that, too. But i did a little research: For me it looks like nothing bad can happen unless a "fachärztliches Attest" or "amtärtzliches Attest" says you are addicted. The former is a medical certificate you can get from your acknowledged physician, the latter from a public health officer. As far as i know on "gerechtfertigter Verdacht" (justified suspicion) you can be forced to go to a public health officer. Even a minor DUI-delict justifies suspicion.
That sounds right to me as well. After the Germans reduced the DUI/DWI tolerance I just stay out of the polizei sights :cheers:

The main point I wished to make was the great difference between American and German laws governing firearms. We Americans consider it a basic right whereas Germans see it as a privilege. The DUI/DWI issue was an example of how far German law extends into gun ownership.
 

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is there concealed carry or any other carrying privledge in Germany?
 

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Wow! Things have really changed in 20 years! I was at a detachment on a German Kaserne in Pfullendorf back in '87.
I bought a Llama, a Walther P38 and a pair of PPK's at the Patch Barracks (Stuttgart) Gun club. All I need was a letter from my Detachment Commander stating that I had permission to store them in the Det. armory (bringing them back stateside was another story). The Kaserne had a nice though small indoor range near by. You had to be invited by a member but nearly every German soldier in residence was a member. IIRC it was used mostly for .22 LR competition shooting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
is there concealed carry or any other carrying privledge in Germany?
Not unless you work for the German police in some manner. At least not that I was ever told about.


The rules for Americans owning weapons has changed dramaticly about 10 years ago. The German and American governments had a special agreement in addition to the SOFA for privately owned weapons. As it was described above, it was very simple. You bought a weapon then got a form from vehicle registration, got your commander to sign it and return it to vehicle registeration. The agreement was based on a time period and it ran out. No one from the American side really tried to renegotiate a new one. They just assumed it would be bussiness as usual. I guess they were more focused on shopping in Prague. From the German side, if the Americans didn't discuss it then theres no more agreement. Over night Gen. Miggs issued an warning order for all weapons to either be turned in to community arms rooms (which didn't exist) or for Americans owning gun abide by German law; completely. The Germans allowed a year grace period to permit us to dispose of weapons or get a German weapons possession card. The easy answer would have been to arrange the rod & gun club system into a shooting club IAW German law. However, MWR took over the rod & gun clubs here in Germany and ran them into the ground. Currently the only true R&G club left is in Heidlberg. A shame since most, if not all, clubs made a ton of profit but not after MWR crashed them. As there wasn't any hope of going the sports shooting club route to get a weapons possession card, most of us became hunters. After learning the truth of how the German system works and overcoming some language issues, weapons ownership became pretty easy again. Since the American yellow weapons card is no long a leagal document, no one was registering their weapons with the American system anymore. So, more GS jobs were created and a mountianous pile of bureaucraticy developed. We can no longer go to the county seat and register a weapon. We have to go through another American system whose only purpose is to collect applications and mail them to Cologne. One German office handles all the Americans applications. When this stayem was first set up it was taking almost 2 years for people to get their first WBK. Now its only 6 weeks. The worst part is, you have to send in your WBK to have changes done to it. Therefor you have to take a chance on getting caught with a weapon on your way to hunting without having you card. I have sent 3 letters to 2 different USAREUR commanders with a method to fix this problem but every letter get misdirrected to the same people whom screwed the system up. How can we put someone in charge of weapons issuses that doesn't own or want to own a wepaon themselves? They blame all this on the Germans and that is just pure BS. I refuse to believe that the Germans will not allow Americans to abide by German law and register our weapon accordingly. We were doing just fine till it got screwed up.

So yes, things are a lot different here.
 
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